Summertime often brings out the small pesky flying insects called fruit flies and sometimes called gnats. Fruit flies need a moist area to lay their eggs so even a damp mop, sponge or a plant sitting in water can attract them. They are about ¼ the size of a regular housefly, have a short life cycle ( 7 – 10 days), and are attracted to any moist decaying organic matter especially overripe fruit. Once infestation begins, usually in your kitchen, a female can lay up to 50 eggs in one day. Their period of incubation is between 8 to 10 days so once you see them they will multiply quickly.
The best line of defense is prevention. Diligent sanitation and getting rid of breeding and incubation areas is important. Keeping the food preparation area clean and free of spoiled or overripe food is key . Here are several other things you can do to eliminate problems:
*Get rid of overripe or spoiled fruit
*Don’t leave open cans of fruit juice, beer or soda
*Empty and wash garbage cans
*Wash and dry dishcloths; do not leave wet dishcloths or sponges in the sink
*Empty mop water and allow mops to dry
*Do not let houseplants sit in water
*Check the garden area for standing pools or puddles of water (flower pots, bird baths etc.)
*Clean garbage disposals and drains with hot water and soap; rinse out with an ammonia solution.
There are a number of sprays and mists that can be sprayed directly on the flies or the area where they were seen. These products kill on contact or may leave a residual film when dried.
For those wary of insecticides, there are traps that attract and kill the fruit fly.
An old fashioned and unsightly remedy is fly paper. The adhesive strip is hung in the area of infestation and the pests are trapped when they land on it. This method is not very effective.
Do it yourself remedies
The first method involves an empty jar or container. Fill the container half full of vinegar. Cover it with plastic wrap and poke small holes in it. The vinergar smells like the acid in rotting food and attracts the fruit flies to crawl through the holes in the plastic wrap. They however, are not able to crawl back out. They eventually drown in the vinegar or just die inside the jar. You can also use a plastic takeout container. Poke holes in the lid with a toothpick or fork.
You will need:
*2 or 3 liter soda bottle
*Fruit juice, soda, beer, apple cider, red wine or apple cider vinegar
*Cooking oil or dish washing liquid
Add about one inch of any of the ingredients listed above into an empty soda bottle. Add a few drops of cooking oil or dishwashing liquid. The fruit flies will be attracted to the fruity scent and crawl into the bottle. The oil or dishwahing liquid will break the surface tension of the liquid and they will be trapped and drowned.